In Customs, Solmaz Sharif examines what it means to exist in the nowhere of the arrivals terminal, a continual series of checkpoints, officers, searches, and questionings that become a relentless experience of America. With resignation and austerity, these poems trace a pointed indoctrination to the customs of the nation-state and the English language, and the realities they impose upon the imagination, the paces they put us through. While Sharif critiques the culture of performed social skills and poetry itself—its foreclosures, affects, successes—she begins to write her way out to the other side of acceptability and toward freedom.
Customs is a brilliant, excoriating new collection by a poet whose unfolding works are among the groundbreaking literature of our time.
“Sharif demonstrates remarkable talent in her ability to so deftly portray the traumatizing balance required to live in the West with deep roots in Iran.”—Michael Ruzicka, Booklist (starred review)
“Sharif's commanding voice reverberates throughout this complex and confident collection.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)